Category Archives: Security

Passwords – Outdated and Dangerous, But Necessary

It’s important to continually use best practices when creating passwords because hackers are constantly trying to obtain your credentials to be sold on the Dark Web. Are you protecting your data? Here’s a quick test. What do these seemingly random alphanumerical groupings have in common? 123456 password 123456789 12345678 12345 111111 1234567 sunshine qwerty iloveyou That is a list of the top ten passwords used in 2018. Recognize any of these? If you don’t, you’re not necessarily in the clear. However, your chance of becoming compromised or hacked is far less than someone who uses one of these. If you do recognize these, you’re certainly testing your luck. These days, it is increasingly challenging to create and remember so many passwords. If we had onlyRead Full Article


A Backup Disaster Recovery Plan

No New Orleans business owner needs to be told that having a disaster recovery plan is crucial, even before the pandemic made it glaringly so. A Backup Disaster Recovery plan is one of those things that all businesses need to have in case of disaster. Whether it’s a natural disaster such as a hurricane, a hardware failure, or even an attack from a hacker, any of these could permanently disable your business if you aren’t prepared or have a proper backup plan. First of all, a data disaster is more common than you might think. Currently, 58% of small and mid-sized businesses are not prepared for data loss. Even worse, 60% of these businesses that lose their data will shut down within six months. SomethingRead Full Article


Is the Dark Web all bad?

Dark Web: (noun) Part of the world wide web that is only accessible by utilizing special software, allowing users and websites to remain anonymous or untraceable. It exists on an encrypted network that uses masked IP addresses to maintain anonymity for users and site owners. This way, people who use the Dark Web for illegal purposes can’t be traced. As you can see by the above definitions, the Dark Web can be a shady place where illegal transactions take place. Things like drugs, guns, counterfeit money, and credit card numbers can all be found, bought, and sold. And you can bet there are groups and chatter about the current crisis in the U.S., from those seeking to stir up unrest to those who need aRead Full Article


Four Tips for Getting Back to Work during this In-Between

We’ve reached an in-between status of this quarantine as many are eager to get back to work. Businesses are starting to open back up (with restrictions), but a lot of employees are finding themselves in an awkward spot between working in the office and remaining at home. Doctors are utilizing video and teleconference appointments but are holding office hours to see patients and perform “elective” surgeries. Companies are requesting that their employees work from home, if possible, but they’re relaxing requirements for coming back into the office. Other organizations are welcoming people back from teleworker status to full in-office expectations. With “in-between” operations, we’ve helped our clients through a few technology hiccups and wanted to help you avoid them too. Here are the top fiveRead Full Article


3 Ways Cybercriminals Use Social Engineering to Steal Your Info

Cybercriminals use social engineering every day to attempt to hack into people’s personal information.  Social engineering preys on the human condition to gain trust, manipulate people, and get people to willingly give out personal information. In general, there are three major ways that cybercriminals use social engineering to steal your info. Email This is one of the most prominent ways that information is stolen. This side of social engineering has been around nearly as long as emails have. It’s guaranteed that anyone with an email account has seen at least one of the many phishing scams that come from cybercriminals. Perhaps a Nigerian Prince would like to wire you a ton of money because his inheritance is wrapped up in the bank for some reason.Read Full Article


How to Spot A Phishing Attack

Would you know if you were the subject of a phishing attack? Many people claim that they’d be able to tell right away if they received an email from an illegitimate source. There had been 1.5 million new phishing websites every month. A 65% increase in attacks in one year! However, it has gotten much, much worse. According to this article, “Google says it saw more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 scams just in the past week.” How do you spot a phishing attack and avoid falling victim yourself? Look for these red flags: Sender Email Address: Always check to make sure that the email address is legitimate. Amateur hackers will send things from Gmail or Hotmail accounts and hopeRead Full Article


5 Tips to Keep Your Children Safer Online

Now more than ever, it is crucial to ensure that your children are as safe as possible when they are online. And though our advice presumes that you are introducing your child to technology, we know that’s not your reality. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reevaluate your child’s online activity and then reset. Start over using these tips as a guide for their online safety. There are so many reasons that keeping your kids safe online is important. They range from future job prospects, to bullying, inappropriate sites, making purchases without permission, etc. Training your children to be safe online starts at an early age and continues until they are fully grown. We hope this tips are helpful. 1. Sit with them. When they’reRead Full Article


Coronavirus and Your Business

The Center for Disease Control has provided some very good guidance for business owners in the face of the threat of the coronavirus (or, more specifically, COVID-19). It includes helpful suggestions regarding hygiene, sick leave, and other practical advice. The CDC also urges business owners to allow employees to telecommute, if possible. Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that youRead Full Article


Migration to Windows 10

You’re prepared, at least mentally, to begin your migration to Windows 10 because you’ve read What Does Windows 7 End of Life Mean to My Business?  and Getting Ahead of Windows 7 End of Life. Is your hardware ready, though? How you handle your IT (on your own, as needed support, or with a fully managed agreement) will change how you will have to deal with your transition.  The following items should help you decide how to prepare your hardware for the Windows 10 migration. Do It Yourself If you own all of your own equipment and deal with IT issues in-house, then you will want to get started on migrating your devices now. The good news is that Windows 10 is highly compatible withRead Full Article


Getting Ahead of Windows 7 End of Life

With Windows 7 end of life quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what needs to be done to prepare. Technically, regular Windows 7 support has been dead since 2015, however, the extended support period is over January 2020, which means no more updates or security patches. What should you be aware of for EOL? Get ready, you may have some work to do. Many are concerned that their PCs will stop working. That is not the case. Your Windows software will work, but its security will depreciate rather quickly, which could put your PC in danger of cyber-attacks and viruses. Back in 2014, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. It affected 40% of computers worldwide. Now, years later, it is estimated that aboutRead Full Article


What does Windows 7 End of Life Mean for My Business?

You’ve all heard the panic. Windows is cutting off support for its widely popular version 7 software. January 14, 2020 will officially mark Windows 7 End of Life. Many companies have used Windows 7 since it launched in 2009 and are still actively using it today. So, what’s the big deal? Can you just stick with Windows 7 or will your computer self-destruct? The good news is that your computers will work just fine after the End of Life (EOL) date. However, just because your computer will function doesn’t mean it’s wise to hold onto outdated software. The largest concern for Windows 7 users is security. Since updates and support will no longer be available, your device will be extremely vulnerable to cyber threats. InRead Full Article


Cyber-Crime and Security for SMBs

Did you know the illicit trading of personal data was worth $3.88 billion last year? Cyber-crime is a growing industry known for its innovation. It goes far beyond the image many of us have of some hacker kid in his basement. Many who engage in this activity are professionals and work in large teams. Some may even be sponsored by governments. If you follow the news, you can find large corporations and even government agencies who have fallen prey to hackers and had massive amounts of data compromised. Unfortunately, this has led smaller firms to feel they fly below the radar. In fact, the opposite is true. Small businesses–especially those in regulated areas such as medical, financial, and legal services–need to be hyper vigilant aboutRead Full Article


Computer Hackers 101

Most people are aware of terms like phishing and malware, but do you know those are a part of a larger scheme called social engineering? This is not a new kind of fraud, in fact it’s been used for many years to manipulate a wide range of people into giving up important data about themselves or workplace. A prime example of social engineering goes back to Greek mythology with the Trojan horse. They infiltrated the city of Troy with a “peace offering” filled with soldiers, thus winning the war. With technology at the forefront of our lives, social engineering has entered a new era. Physical human interaction is not necessarily required anymore. Cyber-criminals, better known as computer hackers, can gain information through emails, pop-ups andRead Full Article


Mischievous Malware

Unfortunately, malware is not a foreign term, in fact it’s pretty well known to anyone who uses a computer. There are several types of malware, as well as mediums in which you may receive it. So, before you click on that link for the free cruise you won, think about all of the personal data you could be giving away. First, let’s take a quick tour of the types of malware you may run into. Viruses: These act very similar to the flu virus. Once it gets into a computer, it propagates by copying itself and becoming part of another program. Then just like the flu at an elementary school, it spreads from computer to computer. However, a virus must be activated, by opening orRead Full Article


Phishing 101

Phishing 101 While the number of people falling for sending personal information to the crown prince of Nigeria in hopes of receiving his promised wealth and riches seems to be dropping, phishing remains a major issue. In fact, the number of phishing campaigns pursued by hackers around the world increased 65% in the last year. What exactly is phishing? Hackers mimic the emails, forms, and websites of legitimate companies in an effort to lure people into providing their private, personal information, like credit cards numbers, social security information, account logins, and personal identifiers. The victim typically doesn’t realize they’ve been compromised until long after the event, and oftentimes only after their identify or finances are affected. In the past, an attack was carried out relatively quickly.Read Full Article


Cyber Crime Tips for Local Businesses

Did you know the illicit trading of personal data was worth $3.88 billion last year? Cyber Crime is a growing industry known for its innovation. It goes far beyond the image many of us have of some hacker kid in his basement. Many who engage in this activity are professionals and work in large teams. Some may even be sponsored by governments. If you follow the news, you can find large corporations and even government agencies that have fallen prey to hackers and had massive amounts of data compromised. Unfortunately, this has led smaller firms to feel they fly below the radar. In fact, the opposite is true. Small businesses–especially those in regulated areas such as medical, financial, and legal services–need to be hyper vigilantRead Full Article


Data Security and Government Regulations

  Any business that stores customer payment information must comply with a number of state and federal regulations. The legal, healthcare, and financial sectors have a number of laws tailored specifically for them (such as HIPAA or CISPA). If you run almost any kind of professional practice or agency you probably have very specific data security requirements. Running afoul of these regulations puts you at risk for legal action and probably means that you have bad security in place. As a professional, your focus needs to be on your clients and running your firm. Regulatory requirements to ensure data security can be complex and include rigorous testing requirements. Ensuring compliance with the regulations can be a serious distraction for you and take you into territoryRead Full Article


Passwords: Basics People Still Ignore

You can have all the locks on your data center and have all the network security available, but nothing will keep your data safe if your employees are careless with passwords. Here are some tips to help you and your employees, since human error is one of the top reasons for IT disaster recovery. Change Passwords – Most security experts recommend that companies change out all passwords every 30 to 90 days. Require passwords that mix upper and lowercase, and include a number and a symbol. Teach employees NOT to use standard dictionary words ( in any language), or personal data that can be known, or can be stolen: addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, birthdays, etc. Emphasize that employees should not access anything usingRead Full Article


Creating a Strong Password

How strong is your password? Did you know that having a weak password is one of the biggest security risks you face? This blog focuses on the best practices related that you can follow to ensure passwords are not your weakest link. A recent article states that 81% of data breaches are caused by poor passwords! Avoid sequences and repetitions: How many times have you used passwords like dollar12345 or $$$BobMckinley. Passwords containing sequences and repetitions are just easier to hack. Avoid using your personal data: Do not make your birth date, bank account number, or address a part of your password. It puts your data at stake if your personal information is stolen. Don’t repeat passwords: Make sure you pick unique passwords every time.Read Full Article


IT Managed Service for SMBs

 Understanding Managed IT Services and How They Benefit SMBs   No doubt you’ve heard, or you’ve at least read about, the benefits of managed services as it relates to maintaining your technology. Managed services refer to clearly defined outsourced IT services delivered to you at predictable costs. You know the exact IT services you’ll be getting and what you’ll pay for them. There is no surprise sky-high bill for services rendered.    How Managed Service Providers Work   Managed service providers (MSPs) use remote monitoring and management tools to keep an eye on the performance and overall health of the IT infrastructure that powers your business operations. Your MSP should provide 24/7 remote monitoring, which will alert them to any issue with your servers, devices, hardwareRead Full Article


Managed IT Services for Your Business

We understand that business owners aren’t always sure that managed IT services are right for their business. So, they rely on calling their “computer guy” only when things go wrong. We’ve provided some questions to consider so that you can better understand why managed IT services provide a much more stable and secure computer network for businesses of all sizes. Plainly put, you can save money and still get top level IT services from a managed services provider such as Rent-A-Nerd, Inc.    Is my business large enough to even consider managed services?   The truth is, any company, regardless of its size or the number of people employed, will run more efficiently if its technology is monitored, maintained, and managed properly. These are facets ofRead Full Article


Breaking News: Downtime Kills Small Businesses

Downtime is bad news for any business whether big or small. A recent two-hour New York Times’ downtime occurrence sent Twitter ablaze and their stock price plummeting. Google going down for one to five hours resulted in lost revenue up to $500,000 and decreased overall web traffic by 40%. While the hourly cost of downtime for a small-to-medium sized business won’t be nearly as large as that astronomical Google figure, downtime is often more detrimental to smaller companies. Smaller enterprises are more susceptible to downtime and are neither large nor profitable enough to sustain its short and long-term effects. Downtime Leads to Unhappy/Unproductive Employees   Even the happiest of employees become dissatisfied when they can’t perform basic day-to-day job functions or properly service customers or clients. While someRead Full Article


Business Continuity: What Every Business Owner Should Know

Technology is full of difficult jargon. To further complicate things, certain terms are often used in a different context between one publication or service provider and the next. An example of this is the usage of backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity. These terms are commonly used interchangeably, often resulting in confusion. In an effort to alleviate some of this confusion, let’s describe each physical process. You will see an overlay among all three, although they are each different processes. Backup  In IT lingo, the most basic description of backup is the process by which your data, as in files or programs, is copied from its original location to another. The purpose of this is to ensure that the original files or programs are retrievableRead Full Article


Business Continuity for SMBs

 8 Cold Hard Truths for SMBs Not Worried About Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity   The foundation of any successful business continuity solution is the ability to retrieve data from any point in time from anywhere. When the topic of data recovery and business continuity comes up, many decision makers at smaller businesses and organizations think that they cannot afford to put enterprise-level protections into place.   Further, so many people think bad things only happen to other people. Just because we hear about a fatal car accident on the morning news, doesn’t mean we fixate on that news when we ourselves get into a car and drive to work. So no matter how many times the owner or executive of a small to midsize businessRead Full Article


The Benefits of an IT Managed Service Provider

Managed Service Providers (MSPs)  are often recommended as a cost effective IT solution for small and mid-sized businesses. For a minimal monthly fee, MSPs provide a reasonably priced solution to the complex technology pains needs of businesses. Here’s a look at the various benefits an MSP can offer your business: Freed-Up Resources and a Renewed Emphasis on Core Business – Both business owners and internal IT staff would much rather focus on revenue enhancing tasks like product development or the creation of cutting-edge applications/services. This is one reason routine monitoring and maintenance tasks are often neglected by an internal IT person or team, which always proves to be detrimental much later. Often perceived as a “threat” to an internal IT person or staff, MSPs can insteadRead Full Article


Business Continuity Versus Traditional Backup

Do you know the difference between business continuity and traditional forms of data backup? How important is it to you that your business does not lose valuable downtime and is able to be back up and running as soon as possible? If this is vital to you, then you should have a very solid business continuity plan in place. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you improve your backup plan as you phase to a more solid business continuity plan. Think Quicker Recovery Time, Not Quicker Backup – While incremental backups are much faster than executing a full backup, they also prolong recovery time. In the event of data loss, a full restore will require loading the most recent full backup and then eachRead Full Article


The Benefits of a Managed Service Provider

The benefits of partnering with a managed service provider (MSP), such as Rent-A-Nerd, Inc., are significant. The bottom line is that it is a cost-effective way to ensure that all of your business’s IT needs are met and kept up-to-date. Experienced MSPs have access to the newest tools that reduce costs by automating many routine in-house labor intensive processes. Break-fix is labor intensive (and a very outdated model), and labor is one of the most expensive operating costs within your IT infrastructure. The new innovative tools that can be provided by MSPs generate real productivity increases and mitigate the risk of network failure, downtime, and data loss from human error and disasters.   MSPs deliver a trusted foundation for your team and your clients. SomeRead Full Article


Cybersecurity: Is your Business Safe from Virtual Threats?

Did you know that 50% of small business owners think their businesses are too small to be targeted by the thieves of the virtual world? Thus, they do not believe that cybersecurity is a business concern. Contrary to popular belief, 72% of hacker attacks happen to smaller firms – firms with fewer than 100 employees! So how prepared is your SMB? Here’s a checklist to help you find out how vulnerable you are to these attacks.   1. Do you have Antivirus protection? An antivirus software program can help protect you from threats that originate from emails such as malware and virus attacks. However, the most striking fact is that 61% of small businesses don’t install any antivirus software. If you are one of them,Read Full Article


Is That Email a Phishing Scheme?

Research has revealed that over half of all users end up opening fraudulent emails and often even fall for them. Phishing is done with the aim of gathering personal information about you, generally related to your finances (or your business and its finances). The most common reason for the large number of people falling for fraudulent emails is that the phishing attempts are often so well-disguised that they escape the eyes of a busy email reader. Here are a few tips that help you identify whether that email really came from your bank or is another attempt at defrauding you via a phishing email. 1. They are asking for personal information – Remember, no bank or financial institution asks you to share your key personalRead Full Article


Computer Network Management and Maintenance

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc.’s co-owners, Charlotte and Darrin Piotrowski, published an article, “Don’t Wait Until It’s Broken,” in the September 2015 issue of Biz New Orleans (and also included in email blast and the Biz New Orleans online issue). In it, they discussed the many reasons why every business should have a computer network management and maintenance contract with a local IT firm, rather than simply calling their computer repair company every time something breaks or isn’t working properly. Here’s the link to the full article. Below is the top ten list of reasons, taken from the article, for contracting with Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. for your business’s computer network management and maintenance. Top 10 benefits of network/computer management and maintenance: 1 – You can truly think of your IT serviceRead Full Article